A major five-year restoration project in the Tees Barrage has reached halfway.
The expert engineers from the Canal & River Trust used a 150-ton crane to complete the latest £ 3 million series of work.
The carefully managed process included re-watering the caissons in front of the abdominal gates and removing the massive stopboards with the help of the diving team.
All four gates and cylinders – which play a vital role in preventing the area from flooding – are being renewed for the first time since they opened 25 years ago.
The project, which received a £ 525,000 contribution from the People’s Mail lottery, is the largest reform program implemented to date.
“It was a complex project and it was great to see everything going so smoothly as we reached this halfway point,” said George Ball, project manager for the restoration program.
“With the cylinders expected to be another 25 years old, it will be a long time before we see something like this again.”
Sean McGinley, Director of Yorkshire and Northeast at the Canal & River Trust, added: “By controlling the water flow of the River Tees, to prevent flooding and tidal impacts, the Tees Valley continues to play an essential role in the regeneration of the Tees Waterfront.
“It helps create an attractive place to enjoy water sports, leisure activities, wildlife spotting, and relaxation with friends and family.
“Among the many structures that our charity takes care of, Tees Barrage is truly unique, unlike anywhere else on our network.
“Thanks to the generous support of the popular mail lottery players, we can guarantee the longevity of the barrage for future generations.”
Tees Barrage has made the area a magnet for visitors and water sports in the area have been seen to flourish, with canoeing, dragon boat racing, jet skiing, skateboarding, canoeing, windsurfing, jet skiing, whitewater rafting, sailing, angling, and even powerboat racing all happen.
At the time of its construction in 1995, it was considered the largest civil engineering project in the UK – at a cost of £ 55 million.
It has lock-in boat navigation and walkways for migratory fishes and generates electricity from tidal power.